Macintosh CD/DVD Drive Not Recording.

I am in the middle of  editing a wedding movie.  I plan to offer the client three separate movies:

  • Short ceremony
  • Long ceremony
  • Reception.

I make a DVD movie after each step.  I finished the long ceremony movie and play it to my test audience.  I had no record or playback problems.  I was told to clean up an audio track by one person.  I made the recommended change and then save that movie. That part of the project, long ceremony, is done.

I then took the long wedding ceremony and cut out all the clips that seem extraneous to the main ceremony such as people arriving and a rather long procession at the end of wedding showing the married couple leaving followed by some of the audience.  Cutting the long movie only took less than one hour to complete.  Short ceremony movie is done.

I next needed to make a new DVD offering up the short and long versions.  I use iDVD because it offers pretty nice introduction screen and menu system..  All of a sudden my Macbook Pro failed to complete the DVD burn process.  The burn seemed to almost complete but it showed one minute to go for completion when the disk was ejected.  When I examined the iDVD disk when they were ejected, they did not look that any burn took place.

I went to my wife’s iMac and loaded the iDVD archived footage and tried to burn the project there.  It too failed but in a more dramatic fashion.  I could not even successfully push the disks into the drive. They immediately refused to go in and did a quick eject.

Solutions I tried.

I took the house vacuum cleaner and vacuumed out each of the DVD ports.  I don’t think this helped much.

I inserted a DVD cleaner.  This is a DVD with some very small brushes on it that supposedly cleans the DVD lens.  This DVD cleaner turned out, for me, to be an indicator of how well the drive would accept disks.  If the disk refused to go in, I was in trouble.  If the computer accepted the disk, I was pretty close to fixing the drive.  I do not recommend the Memorex Lens Cleaner for Mac computers.  I think it is intended for Windows.

I zapped the PRAM on each Mac computer.  This method also failed.  There are some  Internet reports that this might work.  There should be no harm trying this.

I next used compressed air.  I first turned the computer off.  I held the compressed air upright with the supplied tiny hose slightly penetrating into the DVD “door”.  I pressed the trigger for a full blast of air to be shot into the drive and kept shooting while I swept the hose across the full width of the DVD slot.  I am pretty sure this is the best solution.  My wife’s iMac really needed this treatment.  I had to shoot it twice with compressed air.   I used Dust-Off product to do the cleaning.  Make sure you turn the computer off before spraying the DVD port with this air blast.  I would also make sure that your computer cools down if it runs hot.  Make sure that you hold the can upright and NOT sideways or upside down.  You do NOT want the “liquid” to be sprayed into the computer!  This solved the computer part of the problem but I still had issues with the DVD blanks I was using.  Some DVD disks are way better than others.

I tried different DVD discs and found disk selection is very important:

  • Sony DVD-R, AccuCore  YES, good recording.
  • Memorex, DVD-R, 16X, 4.7GB/Go  NO.  I purchased these from Walmart, September 2015.
  • Memorex, Lebelflash (obsolete format) DVD-R  16X, 4.7GB  YES, good recording.  I use this disk to give to my customer as final product because the label has been burned into the top of the DVD.  The label will not peel like a paper label.  The label will not contaminate (over time) like a marking pen.  But, you can not get media for this any more.
  • Imation DVD-R,  4.7GB   YES, good recording.

Summary:
Use good quality canned air to clean the inside of your DVD drive.
Use recommended DVD’s (see list above).  Check the Internet for other recommendations.

P.S.  I wasted pretty much one whole day trying to resolve this problem.

 

Updated: 3-6-19 because DustOff link went bad, 404 error, so I removed it.
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